World Rugby has announced five Spirit of Rugby partners for 2019 to 2020 ©World Rugby

World Rugby has announced five Spirit of Rugby partners to mark the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

The Spirit of Rugby programme was first launched in 2016 with the aim of World Rugby working with organisations to use the sport to boost development projects.

The projects are aimed at the key themes of social inclusion, gender equity, health, education, environmental sustainability and sport for all.

World Rugby have confirmed Bhubesi Pride Foundation, Khelo Rugby, Rugby Opens Borders, Rugby United and SKRUM as the latest partners.

The Bhubesi Pride Foundation is a charity which works in eight African countries, with the aim of developing communities through rugby.

Khelo Rugby seek to promote rugby among communities in India, while also exploring different social issues with children and coaches as part of their initiatives.

Young refugees and migrants are offered the opportunity to become part of the Austrian rugby community as part of the Rugby Opens Borders project, while the Rugby United project offers open training primarily aimed at refugees from Cologne.

SKRUM seeks to use rugby to engage the children and educate them about HIV and AIDS, along with boosting leadership in communities, raising awareness of gender violence and promoting the benefits of school and education.

The project is based in Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, where around 28.8 per cent of the population are believed to be infected by HIV/Aids, the highest rate of infection in the world.

World Rugby state they will support the partners in a variety of ways, including technical support, facilitating collaboration with stakeholders and profile raising opportunities.

Financial assistance will also be provided.

It is claimed the programmes will use rugby to support a wide variety of initiatives around youth education, gender equality, leadership and empowerment, civic and social inclusion with a focus on refugee integration, female and general health awareness alongside HIV/AIDS education.

Environmental sustainability, collaborative partnerships and rugby for all activities will also be explored in the projects.

"World Rugby is proud to mark the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace by announcing World Rugby’s Spirit of Rugby partners for 2019/2020,” said Sir Bill Beaumont, World Rugby chairman.

“The growing interest in this key programme illustrates not just the success of the first edition, but the growing recognition of the link between sport and societal development and the suitability of rugby to deliver sustainable, values-based programmes across a wide range of communities, many of which face daily challenges.

"The high calibre of applications is testament to the many great volunteer and grassroots organisations working across the world to improve quality of life and ensure future opportunities for young children, adults and their respective communities, while delivering on our mission to grow the global game is driven by World Rugby’s vision to be a sport for all, true to its values of passion, respect and solidarity.

"We are looking forward to working the partners and sharing with the rugby family the great stories and impacts these organisations are having in their communities through our sport."

World Rugby states it will continue to collaborate with 2017/2018 Spirit of Rugby partner organisations Terres en Mêlées and Trust Rugby International as well as long-term kit recycling and redistribution partner SOS Kit Aid.

The first edition of the programme offered support to rugby for social development programmes and engaged more than 20,000 participants in over 20 countries, World Rugby stated.

The governing body claim the 2019-2020 programme is anticipated to benefit more than 30,000 children and young adults, male and female, across around 30 countries.

This is expected to include Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in Africa.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Asia are also expected to benefit, alongside Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, England, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Scotland, Serbia and Wales in Europe.

Applications for the programme were reviewed against a range of objective criteria to ensure alignment with World Rugby values and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, World Rugby stated.